Sunday, February 26, 2017

Behind the Blue Dahlia

Parlez vous francais? Unfortunately, I don't much either short of what I can remember from high school, but luckily I think the language of quilts translates. This is my project "Blue Dahlia" which appears in the current issue of Simply Moderne No. 8. Fortunately for me, they also publish an English version!
Blue Dahlia featured in Simply Moderne No. 8, Photo courtesy of Quiltmania
Dahlia inspiration
Dahlias grow better than dandelions here in the Pacific Northwest, so you can probably see where the inspiration for this project came from. They come in so many varieties, shapes and colors, it's hard to pick a favorite. (There's also a film noir movie from 1946 called The Blue Dahlia starring Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd, but the plot is kind of creepy and that's not where I drew my inspiration!)

This is my first time working with the folks at Quiltmania and I have to say, it is a beautiful publication. If magazines are your thing, you will find lots of lovely projects in this issue including a new one from Liza Prior Lucy and Kaffe Fassett, Rana Heredia for Sewn Into the Fabric, Pam Goecke Dinndorf for Aardvark Quilts,  as well as a great technical lesson article series by Kathy Doughty and many more. I am so excited to have the opportunity to share the pages with these wonderful designers. Be sure to look for it at your favorite local quilt shop.
Simply Moderne No. 8, Photo courtesy of Quiltmania
While this is an applique project, I designed it specifically to be a to-go project. It may look like it's all one big applique, but it's actually not. The multi-directional print of the background fabric (which is Modern Background Paper collection by Zen Chic for Moda) allows it to be divided up and when pieced back together, the block lines blend right in. The petals are appliqued on individual squares so you can prep them and take them with you in smaller project pieces. Most of the fabric for the applique petals are from Cotton + Steel's Bluebird Collection. The scrappy binding is also from Bluebird.
Blue Dahlia, 60" x 60"
As for the three magenta petals, there is no deep meaning, just that they remind me of the random beauty of nature and how occasionally a few petals don't get the memo and decide to do their own thing! The amazing quilting on this was done by was such a joy to even stitch on the binding and enjoy the beautiful detail of the quilting...

up close and personal with Tracey's beautiful quilting detail...
front quilting all crinkly and cozy after it's first wash...
backing fabric after the wash, Tula Pink Free Fall 108" wide - I LOVE this fabric for backing.
Since this post is already a little picture-heavy, I'll wait until next time to share a tutorial with you on the applique method I used on this project. Until revoir!

Happy stash quilting,


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Got LVF?

Don't worry, it's not a disease. Well, maybe an addiction. We're talking quilt code for low volume fabrics (LVF's). Call them quiet, call them light, but never call them boring! With lots of white stuff on the ground outside at my house today, I thought this a timely topic!

I love them. Low volume fabrics, the more the better: creams, whites, grays, peaches, doesn't matter. They're the fabrics that are the contrast to your medium and dark fabrics. It's the contrast in your blocks that do the work to pull your eyes across a geometric design. I use them so much I'm always shopping for more to replenish my stash. Here's a sample of a recent haul, both whites and grays.

I tend to use LVF's in a couple of different ways. Option #1, and the favorite of my scrappy-loving heart: use a lot and mix them all together. Like this...

"The Perfect Setting", featured in American Patchwork & Quilting, December 2015. Image courtesy of AP&Q.

Close up on the LVF 60 degree triangles.
Option #2...pick one and use it more exclusively to give each block a more defined identity. Like this...
Here's one block out of my project "Cavanaugh Crossroads".

Here are 9 blocks all together in Cavanaugh Crossroads. Each block uses a different LVF. (I'm sure some of you may be stressing because I mixed true whites and creams together in this project, but I'm not! Do what you love!)
Option #3 is to pick one LVF and use it in the whole project like this...
"Pressed Leaves"
More often than not, I mix them all together, the more the better. For me, the best part about LVF's is that you can pull a whole bunch of them out of your stash and mix with abandon and get great results.
"The Big Spin" from Stash Lab. 
No matter which way you choose to use them, one thing is certain: You can never have enough or too many! I'm always on the lookout for great LVF's when I'm in my favorite local quilt shops.They are so versatile and work beautifully with a variety of scraps. Leave a comment and share your favorite way to use them. It would be reassuring to know I have good company in my love of LVF!

Want to see more and more often? Follow me on Instagram @tonyaalexanderquilts or on Facebook at Tonya Alexander Quilts.

Happy LVF stash quilting,